I didn’t realize how many poems I had on women/men until I looked through my files. Since I’m married to a man, mother of two sons, and grandmother of four boys, I should have known that topic might attract my attention. Lately I’ve also been dividing my non-writing time between politics and my garden (the latter as an antidote to the former). My latest book is World Enough, and Time (Kelsay, 2017), and my latest journal publications are Serving House and Communion Arts Journal.
for my husband
The young man whose name and face I lost
years ago scoops up the kitten from the floor
where a large dog torments it. Without pausing
in what he is saying (also forgotten, and to whom),
he holds the kitten, not nestled to his shoulder,
but aloft like a tray of dishes balanced by an agile
waiter. I am the one who says nothing, but takes
all in, and remember it well enough to recount it
now, as I have before to young women
unlucky with men. You want the one, I advise,
who not only picks up the kitten, but doesn't play
it for sentiment. He does it the way he might
field a grounder, without thinking, second nature
to one trained for the sport. And my sport
has been to notice signs like these, the way
scouts notice the careless grace, the flow
and quick wrists and heart that mark a natural.
I’ve read them wrong, on occasion. Like the plastic
saint that rode your dashboard, one hand raised
in benediction, evoking an aura of incense,
dark wood oiled with sweaty palms, confessions
of the weakness of the flesh, dim churches
I knew by way of James Joyce, Frank O’Connor.
It gave me pause until I learned the statue
wasn’t yours, exactly, but a gift from your mother,
not Catholic herself except by marriage,
but anxious for someone to bless her son’s first car.
You could live with the saint, to calm her fear.
Ah, I said, approving that sign more.
-from World Enough, and Time (Kelsay, 2017)
© 2018 Mary Makofske
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